22 August 2010

Why nobody likes nerds, and why you’re justified in hating them

Strong flame-bait language, hilarious generalization and face-palm inducing deduction. So why am I posting this? Trust me, I have first hand, personal experience with nerdiness, and parts of this text reflect some of my insights.

Bullying is not cool, though. Let people be themselves and they might not be so nerdily defensive about avoiding growing up.

And growing up is key. Why would you expect grown-up behavior from ultra nerds who didn’t really fit in where they were expected to learn to deal with people?

Related: Caring for your introvert

[via:Joonas Mäkinen]

20 September 2009

Reason as memetic immune disorder

“Religious communities actually protect their members from religion in one sense – they develop an unspoken consensus on which parts of their religion members can legitimately ignore. New converts sometimes try to actually do what their religion tells them to do.


The history of religions sometimes resembles the history of viruses. Judaism and Islam were both highly virulent when they first broke out, driving the first generations of their people to conquer (Islam) or just slaughter (Judaism) everyone around them for the sin of not being them. They both grew more sedate over time. (Christianity was pacifist at the start, as it arose in a conquered people. When the Romans adopted it, it didn’t make them any more militaristic than they already were.)

The mechanism isn’t the same as for diseases, which can’t be too virulent or they kill their hosts. Religions don’t generally kill their hosts. I suspect that, over time, individual selection favors those who are less zealous. The point is that a culture develops antibodies for the particular religions it co-exists with – attitudes and practices that make them less virulent.

I have a theory that “radical Islam” is not native Islam, but Westernized Islam. Over half of 75 Muslim terrorists studied by Bergen & Pandey 2005 in the New York Times had gone to a Western college. (Only 9% had attended madrassas.) A very small percentage of all Muslims have received a Western college education. When someone lives all their life in a Muslim country, they’re not likely to be hit with the urge to travel abroad and blow something up. But when someone from an Islamic nation goes to Europe for college, and comes back with Enlightenment ideas about reason and seeking logical closure over beliefs, and applies them to the Koran, then you have troubles. They have lost their cultural immunity.”

What’s Happening To Women’s Happiness?

“First, since 1972, women’s overall level of happiness has dropped, both relative to where they were forty years ago, and relative to men. You find this drop in happiness in women regardless of whether they have kids, how many kids they have, how much money they make, how healthy they are, what job they hold, whether they are married, single or divorced, how old they are, or what race they are. (The one and only exception: African-American women are now slightly happier than they were back in 1972, although they remain less happy than African American men.)”

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